Private sector and government leaders in Gulf countries are trying to push highly evolved networks to overcome some of what some experts call “last mile challenges” around telecom and data transfer services in the Middle East.
To that end, Ooredoo, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, recently partnered with the Omani Information Technology Authority (ITA) to work on a next-generation high-speed network to deliver faster cable communications.
In 2003, the Omani government created an “e-government strategy” to deal with technological literacy and to consolidate and strengthen core services. Partnering with Ericsson, Ooredoo has been working with the government to achieve some of these breakthroughs.
"Being chosen from a field of experienced and expert telecom companies to build the backbone for Oman's e-government strategy is an honor and a testament to the drive and ambition of Ooredoo, as we establish ourselves as the government of Oman's telecommunications partner of choice.” Ooredoo CEO Greg Young said in a statement. “The investment in this next generation high-speed network is a clear demonstration of the country's innovative and forward looking ICT strategy, which supports current needs while preparing for the demands of the future."
ITA CEO Salim bin Sultan al Ruzaiqi concurred.
"This agreement is a breakthrough in elevating and improving Oman's Government Network (OGN) in line with the … aim to adapt to the rapid change in technology," al Ruzaiqi said. “Ensuring maximum speeds, enhanced security solutions as well as cost-effective integrated services will ultimately improve the government e-services provided to citizens."
In some ways, the rapid work that the partnership is doing on high-speed fiber channels mirrors some of the earlier innovations of this industry. For example, Google fiber was a major breakthrough of its kind when the company piloted the program in Kansas City and several select other cities a couple of years ago.
If Kansas City's experience is any indication, the Omani partnership could quickly pay off for entrepreneurs in the sultanate.
“Access to 'The Gig' allows entrepreneurs and innovators to think outside the box.” Matthew Marcus, co-leader of the Kansas City Startup Village and executive director of Kansas City Startup Foundation, told the Gulf News Journal.
Marcus has seen many businesses benefit from Google's new high-speed fiber system in Kansas City. He said early access to gigabit networks allows companies to test things out that can allow them to innovate and grow more quickly.
“Early access to gigabit networks allows startups and established companies a unique opportunity to get a jump on what is going to be a massive market," Marcus said. "The products and services they create will follow from city to city as gigabit networks continue to traverse the globe”
Of course, Marcus said, the opportunity to leverage faster rates of data transfer is company-dependent. Companies dealing with large amounts of data, such as those in the health care industry or startups trying to promote services for complex client platforms, can really benefit from a higher speed connection.
“For the right company and situation, access to gigabit networks could be a game changer,” Marcus said, “But it really depends on what the company is trying to accomplish.”